Toscanini’s: In trouble for tax non-payment….help ’em out

Toscanini’s is a landmark at Cambridge, and while the current generation of MIT students will not remember, they had a branch smack in the center of campus, in the student center, while I was a student there. So Toscanini’s ice-cream and coffee practically runs in my blood. I have met there, dated there, discussed problem sets, cursed professors, discussed politics, planned campus activities, and bitched about the tough life a Ph.D. student. Remember “IHTFP”?

But anyways…Given that I have still not moved from Boston/Cambridge, I visit Tosci’s often enough and continue to love its ice-cream. But today I heard on TV that Tosci’s was shut down just a few days ago and may have disappeared forever for non-payment of taxes exceeding $167,000…. if not for its faithful fans who created a Save Tosci’s website and donated over $31,000 to bring Tosci’s back online, and for bailing Gus, its owner, out. Tosci’s is open again, they are still accepting donations, and they want us to go back and buy lots more ice-cream. Lets go!

Here’s some more info on it. (Source)

Cambridge – One of the most popular ice cream haunts in Cambridge is now the property of the state.Toscanini’s Ice Cream, a mainstay for cool treats in Central Square since 1981, may not ever open again, and its owner, Gus Rancatore, owes the state’s Department of Revenue more than $167,000 in back taxes.“It certainly is too large of an amount to have happened by accident,” said Department of Revenue spokesman Bob Bliss.The bulk of the money Rancatore owes — about $140,000 — is in meal taxes dating back as far as 2000, Bliss said. The rest was in employee withholding taxes.

Rancatore could not be immediately reached for comment.

Thursday morning, a bright orange sign appeared in the window informing customers Toscanini’s was closed due to “non-payment of taxes.”

Bliss said Rancatore would have to work out a payment plan with the state soon if he had any hope of reopening Toscanini’s. Otherwise, the property would likely go to auction, and the proceeds would go towards paying his debt.

“Even then, [the auction price] is usually not enough to recoup what the state is owed,” Briss said. “And, it doesn’t make the debt go away. Hopefully, the seizure will convince [Rancatore] that there is a problem and it needs to be dealt with.”


2 Responses to Toscanini’s: In trouble for tax non-payment….help ’em out

  1. JinnahFan says:

    Bilal, instead of giving money to people who committed illegal acts, why should we not give it to people who have health, nutrition, and other problems because of no fault of their own?

    Also, BTW, I’m a Ph.D. student in biotechnology and am interested in working for a consultant firm after I graduate (the perpetual post-doc option does not look very attractive at the moment). Can you do a post on how best to prepare,etc? Thanks! (BTW, I don’t live in Boston and have never met you….)

  2. Matt LaBella says:


    You make a logical point – give money to a more ethically sound organization – however, I love Toscanini’s and I’m not alone. It was a cool experience, from the hipster staff to annoyingly heavy chairs; oh yea the coffee and ice-cream were great too. When I worked for a Pharma company around the corner, my coffee break at Tosci’s was one of the few perks in my cubicle dampened day. Maybe nastalgia is my drive to help, but if a coffee shop (albeit a tax evading one) makes people happy isn’t it a worthwhile cause?

    Best, Matt

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